When is the last time you read a blog that didn't have so many links that you actually thought the font color was blue? Yeah, a long time ago. All too often we over link our content because there's a misconception that more links inside your blog content = greater SEO. That is just flat. Out. Wrong.
Should you add links to your content? Sure. If you're a small blog or new website, you should be using sources that are small or newish like yours, because those are the most likely to be happy you've linked to them and possibly provide a link back to you or a shout out. Furthermore, your links should add value to the content, not link just to link. I'm absolutely tired of Google.com being linked in a blog. Tired of it. We know what Google is and don't need a link to their homepage; and you're not gaining anything from that link.
What's important to Google is important to you
Google has told us repeatedly that they want your website to be easily crawled, read, clean, and front and center content. Your content should be relevant both with timing and in accuracy. That means that uber linked blogs, linking every company name, or an automated sales pitch with links at the bottom don't matter in the way you think they do. Remember: If it adds value, add the link. If it's just a link, stop yourself. While it's good to have internal links, your blog is not the place for them.
Relevancy is important, both in terms of links and content. Links within your content, or sources, should be relevant in the link's site content and the specific content you're linking to. On the permalinks side of things, you have a ton of options. They can include the date in some format, no date at all, added keywords, etc. The answer to how your permalinks should be logged is a loaded one, but here are two basic fundamentals you should remember: If you're writing on a news topic or something that will only be relevant for a short time, the date must be in the link. If you're writing evergreen content, you shouldn't have the date in the permalink but it will take much longer to reach the first page of Google.
How Links Actually Work
The way links work is rather simple: Referral and links to (from other websites) your content boost SEO. Your internal links (when appropriate and in the appropriate place) boost SEO. Here's how links actually work:
- High value (good standing with Google) websites linking to you improves your SEO
- With these types of links you need fewer links
- Similar content / industry websites linking to you
- If they're smaller sites you'll need more of them linking to you
- Internal links on your about page
- These should link to individual team members
- The team members should be linked to their individual social sites (more on this later)
- Forum-style or social q and a pages
- If these are appropriated properly they'll increase your standing in The SEO Moz ranking
RIP Google Authorship - Google's job is now more difficult
Beyond links, Google looks at who the content is coming from. In an attempt to verify credible and authoritative sources, Google toyed with the idea of Google Authorship, which if I may point out, was an amazing program. Unfortunately, Google Authorship wasn't used enough so it was shut down and Google's now on the lookout for new ways to mark authors as credible. This is what I was referring to above when I mentioned that your about page and team members should be linked with their social profiles. Here are a few ways to become a credible and authoritative person as it pertains to Google:
- Write well written articles for larger websites (such as Social Media Today)
- Be linked/featured on sites of industry leaders
- Be sure your name on all of your profiles is the same
- Link all of your profiles together so Google knows it's the same person
- Have your name mentioned across social networks, namely Twitter
- Google has said that mentions are a growing importance to search ranking
In all, if you take nothing else away from this, here's what I want you to remember: Your 20 links per blog do not matter in the way you think they do. Your content needs to be authoritative and relevant in order for Google to shoot you to the top of their search queries.